TODAY’S READING: Psalms 65–67, 69–70
The premise of a missionary reading of the Bible is that God is good and glorious, worthy of all worship, great in mercy and holiness. Our majestic God created humans of every variety and made us to be fully satisfied only by being in relationship with Him, a relationship defined by worship and friendship. That we can be friends with the God we worship is a delightful mystery that only eternity will fully explain. This God of wonders blesses us, and Christopher Wright explains the purpose of that blessing:
The only proper response to blessings and benefits received at God’s hand was worship and obedience. That was another core belief in Israel. But if that was true for them, then it must also be true of all nations because they too came under the sphere of God’s blessing. Indeed, Israel’s own praises for blessing received had a missional edge, in reaching out in proclamation to the nations. And so there is a range of texts anticipating the praise of the nations, and a few that speak of their obedience as well… The theme of the worship of the nations being offered to YHWH, God of Israel, occurs from the beginning to end of the Psalter…the anticipated praise of the nations for YHWH is said to occur
- In response to His mighty acts in general
- In response to the justice of his sovereign cosmic rule in particular
- In response to his restoration of Zion (which will be for the nations’ benefit)
- As part of the outpouring of the universal praise of all peoples
Historically, God’s blessing was owed on Abraham then Isaac, Jacob, and the Israelites as “the firstfruits of God’s wider harvest among all nations on earth.” The Bible is the story of this passed on blessing that is centralized in Jesus (the seed of Abraham) and the Psalms envision “a whole earth and all its peoples now gladly affirming Yahweh’s sovereignty and gratefully receiving from Yahweh all the blessings of a rightly governed creation.” This wonderful Jewish hymnbook (Psalms) reverberates with the harmonic prophesies of what God is going to do for and through all the peoples of earth. Psalm 65 sings: “Praise is awaiting you, O God… To You all flesh will come… O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of the far-off seas… You who still the noise of the seas and the tumults of the peoples” (1–2, 5, 7). Psalm 66 echoes: “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth… All the earth shall worship You and sing praises… Oh, bless our God, you peoples” (1, 4, 8). Psalm 69 toggles back and forth between Elohim and Jehovah (29–30, 35) when referring to salvation, showing the authorial intent for all the world (not just the Jews) to magnify Jehovah.
Most striking of all is Psalm 67 which in particular reveals the universal scope of worship for Jehovah. The author takes the Aaronic blessing and rewrites it. Instead of “Jehovah” blessing “you” (the particular Jewish people), the psalm wondrously declares “Elohim” will bless all the nations through blessing “us.” I. Abrahams wrote:
This Psalm is a prayer for salvation in the widest sense, and not for Israel only, but for the whole world. Israel’s blessing is to be a blessing for all men. Here, in particular, the psalmist does more than adopt the Priestly formula (Num. 6:22–27); he claims for Israel the sacerdotal dignity, Israel is the world’s high priest… If Israel has the light of God’s face, the world cannot remain in darkness.
O glory! We have the sacred dignity of knowing the one true God and of making Him known to all the peoples of earth. We have the sacred privilege of bringing the lostness of the nations to the throne in prayer. We have the sacred duty of sending and going to the most unreached peoples and places of earth singing: “God be merciful to us and bless us…that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let all the peoples praise You… Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy… God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him” (67:1–4, 7).
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 478–479.
 Ibid. 477.
 Marvin E. Tate. “Psalms 51-100.” Word Biblical Commentary 20. Dallas: Word, 1990. 159.